It is important to emphasise that it is not a breach of the Code to become associates. What is important are the consequences of that status. Parties that are or become associates and wish to acquire voting rights must aggregate their holdings to determine whether the proposed acquisition would be in breach of the fundamental rule.

The examples set out above illustrate the fact-specific nature of the association rules in the Code and their relationship with the acquisition of voting rights and the fundamental rule contained in rule 6(1). The breach in each case was not the creation or existence of the associate status. Rather it was the acquisition of voting rights when, after that acquisition, the associated parties’ aggregate holding of voting rights exceeded the 20% threshold.

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